Once, I walked in on a conversation of students complaining about the administrator of our high school. They were calling her names and saying how unfair she was with the late policy at the school. Of course, when the students saw me, they stopped their conversation but it was too late. I had heard everything. A normal knee jerk reaction would be to launch in to my standard lecture about how students should respect the admin but this time I tried a new approach and it worked.
You see, this administrator was a very good friend of mine. I knew about her life from before she was an administrator. I had admired her career as I watched her transform from teacher to writer to world traveler and back. We were friends through many stages so, I felt comfortable boldly walking into her office announcing, “You know the students treat you like the bad guy around here.” She nodded and sighed. I continued, “I have an idea that might help change all that.”
She listened (she is an excellent listener) while I pitched my idea. I invited her to create an experience for my students that would help them to understand her life beyond the school walls. I asked her to bring photographs and stories about her time away from Canada. I suggested she share published books and articles but mostly I wanted her to bring a message.
I hoped her visit to my classroom would change my students’ opinion of her as the VP bad guy and start seeing her real self, a passionate educator and life-long learner. Maybe if students got to know the real person behind the VP label, they could begin working with her not against her.
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Share with us. How would you prepare students to attend the presentation of this special speaker?